Why Don't You Just Date a Guy?
I've gotten three emails this month from femmes asking how to explain to people that just because they date women who "dress like men," it doesn't mean that deep down, they "really want a man." I can only speak for myself, but I bet some of the following is true for other readers who date butches.
Dating a butch is nothing like dating a guy. There are many reasons for this. Some are physical. For example, men have way more body hair. Ugh. Also, regardless of their gender presentation, women have curves that men do not. A butch doesn't always let the world see these curves, but if you're her lover, you get to be up close and personal with them, and there's something special about this. Plus, women are soft!
A man in a tie and a woman in a tie project entirely different energies. Both people might exude strength, and both might even exude masculinity, but the nature of that masculinity is quite different. To me, there's something quietly subversive and original about a woman's masculine energy. It may be queer, deviant, or nonconformist. It may co-opt traditional trappings of power without embodying them.
One of the joys of dating women is that you get to create everything from scratch. When a woman dates a man, there's an inherent gender script already written. Defaults exist about everything from child-rearing to household chores. True, many people deviate from these (though I'd argue that more don't). But many straight people, even very nontraditional ones, don't seem to find the mere existence of this script uncomfortable. But when I was with a man, I was deeply aware of it. As progressive and gender-enlightened as my DXH was (and is), I felt great unease that these norms existed. I couldn't help but be intensely aware of them. I didn't like how people perceived and related to me as the female member of a hetero couple. It felt awkward, as if I was always "doing" femininity wrong.
And of course, if it's a heterosexual man asking you this question, you could always respond by asking why he doesn't just date a man in a dress.
What are your answers to the "Why don't you just date a guy" question?
10/20/2011 02:46:11 am
My ex has been known to respond with..
10/20/2011 03:45:36 am
Ha. That is a great response. I should have clarified in the post: I was trying to address it to people who really DID want it explained to them, not annoying people who are just trying to be provocative, or whom you just want to shut up! ;-)~
Ugh, this questions drives me mad. I can almost (almost) forgive straight people for their ignorance here, but the worst is when other LGBT folks say "if I wanted someone who looked like a man, I'd date a real one." It's disturbing how many people are unable to understand the difference between biological sex and gender presentation.
10/20/2011 04:07:25 am
As a femme, I've NEVER been asked that question (I guess being in NYC I am not surrounded by that much ignorance) but these few lines of yours: "...women have curves that men do not. A butch doesn't always let the world see these curves, but if you're her lover, you get to be up close and personal with them, and there's something special about this. Plus, women are soft!" completely turned me on. I guess that's why I am now married to a butch woman.
10/20/2011 06:21:03 am
As a femme I was always into other femme...but once my wife cut off all her hair and became more "tomboy butch" OMG! I am now turned on to a completely different emotional/sexual experience. I will never go back. There is such a different energy that is so electric that no man will ever come close to creating. Men...who needs em! (except for our adoptions and/or a doner!)
8/19/2013 02:08:38 pm
10/20/2011 07:36:38 am
I usually reply with, "Well, for starters, men don't have vaginas. Whether she's wearing a tie or not, my girlfriend most certainly DOES." And that's usually the end of the conversation. If it isn't, I generally tell them that I like dress shirts and slacks on my partners, and my girlfriend likes wearing them, but it makes her no less feminine to me.
10/17/2014 11:30:01 am
my female partner doesn't have a vagina actually, she has a penis and our relationship is as valid as any other. This whole article is cissexist in its gendering of bodies. All women have hair on their bodies and it varies between people, all people have fat on their bodies and this varies as well . . .
10/20/2011 08:43:11 am
Thank you for this posting. As a femme who loves butches and FTM folk, I get bombarded with these types of questions all the time. There is something pretty fantastic about a masculine woman, at times it feels like you are dating Superman/Clark Kent. It really is the best of both worlds.
" . . . at times it feels like you are dating Superman/Clark Kent." What a lovely way to express it.
As someone who is mostly out of the closet (telling my sister when I go to visit in two weeks time - then I will be 100% out) and who has always been femme and (or so I thought) straight, I get asked this question a lot.
10/21/2011 09:06:18 am
Funnily enough, I ask myself the question "why don't you just date a guy?" more often than people ask me that. As a femme married to a soft butch woman, a lot of the attraction was the mix of strength with beauty. And I still love that in her. But I really hate how she forces me into playing the gender role.
10/22/2011 02:00:45 am
Following on from Femme Gal - Im a 45 year old soft butch married to a femme and we share the household chores, in fact I probably do most of them - she earns more than me because she wants me to work part time (yes really!) so that I can be at home to cook for her (amongst other things). This works for us. We dont fit normal gender roles because we dont have to and we dont want to. Im bigger, taller, perhaps stronger, i get mistaken for a man all the time but I know that my wife doesnt want to be with a man - she likes my softness and the curvy bits, at the same time as liking the fact that Im bigger and butcher than her because i make her feel safe.
10/23/2011 08:07:20 am
This has always summed it up rather nicely for me: http://velvetparkmedia.com/blogs/why-i-love-butch-women-and-other-endangered-species
10/24/2011 02:24:27 am
I get so annoyed by this question because in my experience, it's never actually genuine curiousity. So I say "Because I have a pathological aversion to sperm."
11/3/2011 02:17:32 pm
My reply is somewhat like the last poster's. I just tell them that I have a penis allergy. Symptoms are migraines, boredom, depression, loss of appetite and thoughts of suicide.
12/5/2011 07:06:42 am
A lot of the answers here are really uncomfortably essentialist and make assumptions about bodies and personalities that do not hold up to reality.
12/6/2011 01:38:08 pm
Very interesting, Shaed--say more!
12/16/2012 01:12:12 pm
Thanks for taking the time to answer this question seriously. I can understand that this question can be offensive But shutting down the conversation kills dialogue. I, as a femme who's always dated femmes, dated a butch girl. I appreciated her masculine energy and all the benefits that come along with it:) it was a great experience and though I really wanted it to work, it always seemed a bit uncomfortable for both of us. I never really understood the attraction to butch women but this article def shed some light. Thanks.
12/25/2012 08:42:20 pm
I like what you say about the different energies exuded by a man and by a butch woman... I like soft butches, and there is another reason why I don't just 'date a guy'.... Most of the guys that I like (I am bi) are not Masculine enough to be fancying a woman... i,e, they are gay (or they are bi, and wanting to see a man...). So even though I can fancy some guys, they're no more masculine than the soft butches that I go for!
1/8/2013 02:45:35 pm
My wife is single handedly the most high femme woman I have ever met. She works as a fashion designer and seamstress at a boutique, and yet still wears a strap occasionally. I take care of the bills, clean the house, take care of our pup and so on....In short; just because we are a femme and butch couple doesn't mean that we play out any of these inherent roles. In fact, we are the complete opposite of them in every way.
11/28/2017 09:16:36 pm
Well, if they find butches and men interchangeable, what’s stopping them from dating butches? But seriously, there are people who date butches and men. But they identify as andro-erotic, not as lesbians.
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